Nina Lussi was among several foreign ski jumpers who competed in the Polish championships on the Średnia Krokiew hill in Zakopane. The 27-year-old American’s participation in that event was slightly surprising, but as she explained, she is currently training with … the French women’s ski jumping team. The Lake Placid native admitted that a lot has changed since her last visit to the ski jumps in Zakopane.
Before taking part in the Polish nationals, Nina Lussi had already been staying in Zakopane for a few days with three French ski jumpers: Julia Clair, Océane Avocat Gros i Joséphine Pagnier. The entire group led by Damien Maître had the opportunity to train on frost rails both on the Wielka Krokiwe (HS-140) hill, as well as on the modernized Średnia Krokiew (HS-105). What’s interesting, Lussi recently shared a memory from the Zakopane ski jumps on her Instagram story. “That was from 2009, so a little bit ago. If you look up at the hill, you wouldn’t know it’s the same place. This feels like a really top-class facility,” the 27-year-old expressed praise for the renovated sports venue. “I love to see the development not only on the big, Olympic-size hills, but I think it’s really important to see the smaller hills and the young athletes training. It’s been nice in the last few days to see a lot of young Polish ski jumpers, and there is a lot of talent out there,” she added.
It’s worth mentioning that Nina Lussi competed in FIS-level sports events in Zakopane three times throughout her career. She visited the capital of the Polish Tatra Mountains for the first time in February 2009 to compete in a women’s Continental Cup competition. Nearly 15 years old at the time, she finished the event on the Średnia Krokiew hill in 44th place. Interestingly, the winner ended up being none other than Nina’s teammate of the same age, Sarah Hendrickson. The most-decorated US ski jumper also shared her former teammate’s Instagram memory from Zakopane. Lussi later competed in Zakopane two more times – in 2011 and 2012, when the ladies’ Continental Cup was hosted by the Podhale region of Poland again. She achieved her best result the third time around with a solid 15th place.
Hailing from New York State, the American jumper pointed out that a similar modernization to the one completed at the Średnia Krokiew facility is underway at her native ski jumping hills. “My hometown in Lake Placid, they are going through a similar renovation, so they are using the same frost rail system. They’ve also changed the profile with metal, just like here. So I’m excited to go home and jump on my version of this,” said Lussi.
We also asked Nina about her collaboration with the French women’s team. The American had previously been stationed in Slovenia, so where did the idea to move to France come from? “France is a very beautiful country, so that helps for sure. It’s a really nice training group, there aren’t so many of us, so it’s a very close community. I have a really good relationship with my coaches and we’ve managed to work with the US and the French together, which is really helpful. I’m really excited to see what this winter has in store for my French teammates – I think there is a lot of potential the world hasn’t seen yet, so I can’t wait for this year,” summed up the athlete, who now spends most of her time in Courchevel, France.
Julia Piątkowska, Bartosz Leja, own information
translation by Anna Libera